Serena Williams crashes out in Melbourne

 

Serena Williams has won the Australian Open in the past despite being well short of peak fitness, but the years appeared to catch up with her today. Despite carrying an ankle injury Williams had still been one of the favourites to win here, but the 30-year-old American was knocked out by Ekaterina Makarova, the world No 56.

With Williams making 37 unforced errors and serving seven double faults, Makarova coasted to a 6-2, 6-3 victory to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time. She now plays a fellow Russian, Maria Sharapova, who beat Germany's Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Williams needed pain-killers and had her ankle strapped after suffering the injury in Brisbane a fortnight ago, where she had played her first matches since last year's US Open. She served poorly and never got her ground strokes going. "My lefty serve is actually better than that," Williams said afterwards. "Maybe I should have started serving lefty."

The world No 12, who has won the title here five times, said there was "no way" she would have tried to play if it had not been a Grand Slam tournament, but added: "I don't have a huge problem with an injury."

Chris Evert described Williams' performance as "shocking" and added: "I have never seen her play so poorly in a Grand Slam match - or any match. She was totally out of sorts. There was no rhythm. When she missed, it was by feet and not inches. She was hitting balls six, eight feet out of court.

"That is not the champion Serena Williams we have seen. At the end of the match she was just trying to push the ball back in court and she wasn't even able to do that. Maybe now she is 30 she is having more bad days, more flat days. Some days you don't want to get out of bed in the morning. It was all about motivation."

Caroline Wozniacki, the world No 1, was due to play Kim Clijsters, the defending champion, in the quarter-finals today and was no doubt hoping to let her tennis do the talking after Martina Navratilova said that the Dane was not "a true number one".

Navratilova, who believes that Petra Kvitova would top the rankings under a fairer system, said: "Wozniacki doesn't even have that great a record in her career or in the last four years over the top 10 or against the top five, whereas Petra you feel really imposes herself on the match and any player."

 

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935